Program E: Anne Charlotte Robertson from the 5 Year Diary
Free and open to the public! Seating is on a space-available basis.
Diary #9, #22, #23, #31, #80, #81
“Anne Robertson was an intrepid chronicler of life, pursing autobiography in the perpetual motion (and solitary stasis) of her film diaries, Anne committed her inmost thoughts to full expression utilizing the accessible cinema of super 8. She was unsparing in self reproach, candor, tenderness, moral purpose but all of this was conveyed with vulnerability and humor Her works are intimate and instructional filled with rancor, cries from the heart, borderless fantasies and astringent witness. Often isolated with her camera speaking in a whisper or a scream she connected with the a community of viewers who appreciated her dedication and intensity, experienced in screenings where she often performed live or added an impromptu layer of poignant commentary onto an existing recorded film narration. In this way she constructed a complex monologue/dialogue with self and with her viewers an oscillating attention to present and past time the divided consciousness of a singular being.” —Mark McElhatten
Influenced by filmmakers as diverse as Ed Pincus and Carolee Schneemann, Anne Charlotte Robertson (1949 – 2012) was a Boston area Super 8 filmmaker who examined and shared her life through her work – a mix of essay, performance and stop-motion animation. Anne completed her graduate degree at Massachusetts College of Art in the 1980s – honing her filmmaking skills under the tutelage of Saul Levine. Diagnosed with various and changing mental disorders, Anne faced several breakdowns and mental hospitals – experiences she documented and exorcised thoroughly through her films – particularly within the annals of Five Year Diary (1981-1997), a project spanning nearly two decades.
Though relentlessly intense and emotional, her films are not entirely bleak, for her bracing self-awareness and humor energize and bring a rare effulgence to the depths of her darkest moments. Anne boldly exposed her most intimate and obsessive inner dialogues – from illness, breakdowns and longing for love to diets, cats and the minutia of existence. She also considered the filmmaking experience therapeutic and cited the process as helping cure her depression.
Anne died of cancer September 15, 2012 leaving behind an archive of a life passionately examined, primarily through the rough warmth of Super 8. Most of her work was created on Super 8 sound film featuring a soundtrack on the film, with additional audio on cassette and narrated live by Anne, creating many layers of sound and story. The original materials have been digitally transferred and are presented here on DigiBeta.
“The Harvard Film Archive, home to the Anne Charlotte Robertson Collection, is honored to pay tribute, to the vivid insights and imagination of a pioneer of experimental first-person cinema.” —Liz Coffey, HFA Film Conservator
Special thanks: Toni Treadway and Saul Levine